Don’t want to stand outside in the morning cold to wait for your school bus?

There’s an app to help you out — at least in several places around the metro area.

Districts like Robbinsdale have started using the bus-tracking app MyStop to shorten waiting times and keep students and parents updated on bus pickup times.

The app, which Robbinsdale schools launched in February, runs in conjunction with the routing and GPS systems that the district already used. Parents and students can check the app using a smartphone, tablet or computer. They sign in using a username and password.

“Like many school districts in the state, Robbinsdale was receiving concerns from families about longer wait times for buses as the number of days experiencing inclement weather grew over the past few intense winters,” said Jerry Anderson, transportation manager for Robbinsdale.

Anderson said the district decided to use MyStop because other school districts have had success with the app and Robbinsdale already had much of the software needed in place, so the cost was a lot lower.

The district began developing the app in November, working with Tyler Technologies, a national software company that works with the public sector. Robbinsdale paid a one-time fee of $30,000 and will pay an annual fee of about $5,000 for the app.

The district’s bus fleet runs about 145 routes each day, Anderson said. Of the district’s 12,000 students, about 8,500 take a bus to school.

The app is usually updated every one to two minutes, Anderson said, a lag time that has been the biggest complaint from families about the app. He said other than the lag, there have been relatively few complaints.

Tyler Technologies works with four other districts in the metro area — Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, Eastern Carver County, Chaska and Minnetonka.

 

Taylor Nachtigal is a University of Minnesota journalism student on assignment with the Star Tribune.